Zero Wing

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Zero Wing (ゼロウィング?) is a 1989 side-scrolling shoot 'em up arcade game developed by Toaplan and published by Taito. The player is a lone hero who will save the universe from an evil force.

It enjoyed a degree of success in arcades and was subsequently ported to the Sega Mega Drive by Toaplan on May 31, 1991 in Japan, and by Sega during the following year in Europe, followed by a PC Engine CD-ROM release by Naxat Soft on September 18, 1992 only in Japan.

The European version of the Sega Mega Drive port was the source for "All your base are belong to us", an Internet meme which plays off of the poorly translated English in the game's introduction.



As with other scrolling shooters, the aim of the game is to shoot all enemies that appear on screen and avoid getting obliterated by enemy fire, crashing into enemies or into foreground scenery. There are mid-level and end-of-level boss enemies that stay with the player until they are defeated. The game features eight levels, each with different style and enemies and are a few minutes long: Natols, Legrous, Pleades, Aquese, Submarine Tunnel, Barricade Zone, Bellon, Gerbarra.

The player, a "ZIG" star fighter, has several ways to attack:

  • Using the main cannon: scatter-shot (red weapon), lasers (blue weapon), or homing missiles (green weapon). Similar to configuring the Vic Viper in Gradius or collecting pickups in R-Type.
  • Ramming smaller enemies with the orbital cannons that appear above and below the ZIG. These cannons fire whatever weapon is equipped on the main ship at the time, like in R-Type Leo.
  • Grabbing an enemy using the tractor beam and releasing it at another enemy, similar to the Kirby games.
  • Releasing the spherical front shield once it is collected, like in R-Type.

Soon after starting, the player encounters power-up ships. If destroyed, they leave behind power-ups. These run in the sequence of red weapon, blue weapon, green weapon, and speed-up, and then start with red again. There is also an occasional shield power-up, which attaches to the front of the ship. Once the first weapon power-up is collected, two small ships appear above and below the ZIG, and follow its exact movements. These extra ships are impervious and can be used as shields. As they occasionally move nearer to the ZIG when blocked by large enemies or foreground scenery, they can serve as a warning to the player that they should move carefully to avoid a collision.

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